Blaton & Rypson, Anthropologists in Art (AiA)
Anthropologists in Art
Blaton & Rypson, Anthropologists in Art (AiA), are Nahuel Blaton and Sebastian Rypson, two anthropologists who operate within the field of the visual arts.
The aim of Blaton & Rypson is to create a space where anthropology and art meet. This space can range from a gallery space, public space, digital Internet site, catalogue or book.
The core meaning of the interdisciplinary meetings is to discuss, research and create reflections on the human condition; sharing knowledge, expertise, techniques, methods of research from both disciplines, and reflections on the reality around us. Existential questions such as: “Who are we?”, “Where are we going?” and “Why do we do what we do?” may be considered as general topics that AiA aspires to work on. Besides, AiA focuses on case-specific topics such as: “Representation of Self”, “The omnipresence of visual culture and its impact on the human condition” or “The relationship between the authentically Real and the artificially Fake, both implied by the very essence of photography”.
The final step of each meeting is to present these reflections to a broader public. Depending on the project, the form can range from an exhibition to a performance or a written document. Always, however, with the intention to communicate with the world around us. The presentations are not meant to provide the public with answers per se, but to generate a contemporary perspective on the human condition as reflected by the interaction between artists and anthropologists.
Anthropology vs art
Although both anthropology and art have different criteria, methods and techniques, both share the ambition to reflect on the human condition and to give meaning to existence. Academia holds on to the formats and theories accepted within the scientific paradigms to understand human endeavour. Artists work with a more open format where the artistic practice is the basis of research. In comparison with academics, artists do not need to use accepted techniques, theories or predetermined general procedures. The bottom line for the artist’s work is generally its own artistic integrity.
Where social science and art come together is in the interpretation of the human condition. Academic documents provide, mostly in the form of texts, scientific research and develop specific theories influencing public discourse. Art works, on the other hand, influence our perception of reality as they exist as real visual objects in the world; they influence the public by their very presence and force them to feel and think.
In this context art and science should be considered as complementary to each other; in a way they strive for the same goals albeit through different formats.
2010 and Anthropologists In Art
Starting in 2010, Blaton & Rypson, Anthropologists in Art (AiA), have been granted the opportunity to curate and manage Gallery WM, an Amsterdam-based gallery which has focused on the promotion of photographer’s photography for the past ten years. We propose to curate and organise visual art manifestations where social scientific issues and case-studies function as the basis for art exhibitions on the one hand, and art exhibitions function as bases for anthropological analyses. In order to facilitate the assembly of insights in human creative behaviour, AiA has founded the AiA-Study Centre and Journal where visual and textual documentation and literature is accumulated in the fields of Anthropology of Art, Artistic Anthropology and Art & Research.